Welcome, people from abroad. This is the interview with the [Puzzle Quest] maker, CEO Steve Fawkner of Infinite Interactive.

Korean version of this Interview.

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1. As I see, [Puzzle Quest] seems to be part of [Warlords] franchise, due to sub-title [Challenge of the Warlords]. Your company made [Warlords] series in the past, but they were not very famous in Korean scene. Could you please introduce that series & your company work briefly?

The Warlords strategy games started back in 1989. Since then there have been 10 sequels, all of them very successful in the USA, Europe & Australia. The very first Warlords games were turn-based, like Civilization.   Many of the later ones were real-time, like Warcraft.

One thing that the Warlords games all have in common is your Hero.  Usually only RPGs have heroes, but we added the same kinds of heroes to strategy games, which has really set us apart from other games out there ? your hero grows in power the more games you play… and as he gets more powerful, the way you play the game actually changes, too.

2. [Puzzle Quest] is kinda different game from earlier [Warlords] series, but it still uses [Warlords] franchise. It could be kinda risky & unusual thing, when you were in pre-production period. Could you please let me know how you decided? And do you have some episodes to tell us, about making entirely different genre under the name of earlier series?
Puzzle Quest is still set in the same world as the other Warlords games ? the maps, the nations and the characters are all well-known to Warlords players.  For that reason we felt it was appropriate to include the word “Warlords” in there somewhere.  
But we also knew that this was quite a different game and we didn’t want to confuse people by calling it “Warlords: Puzzle Quest.”

3. [Puzzle Quest] is good example for Fusion Genre, with match-3 puzzle game & some good RPG elements. It's not very common to combine such a different genre into 1 game & make it excellent. Other recent good example might be [Bookworm Adventures] from Popcap, with Word Game & RPG elements. Could you please share us your thought, about mixing several entirely different genre into 1 game, and another good game [Bookworm Adventures]?

I think of it a little bit like cooking: you get the nicest and most surprising flavors when you combine spices and ingredients in new ways.  The same is true with game design ? the biggest and best surprises for me are always found when two of my favorite genres are mixed together.

4. [Puzzle Quest] might have PC version, as we can see from Demo, but released PSP & NDS version only until now. And people assumed there will be PC retail version, due to PC Demo, but XBOX Live Arcade version is announced at now. Please let us know about that.
Puzzle Quest is really a perfect game for portable systems, so we think that PSP and NDS were a great place to start. 

We have also recently announced Puzzle Quest for Xbox 360 Live Arcade.  We did hope all along to bring Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords to Xbox Live Arcade because the game is so well suited to the platform, and were very excited to make the announcement. No further details have been announced at this time regarding the XBLA launch or about the game coming out on other skus, but keep an eye out for more information from D3Publisher.

5. [Puzzle Quest] got big hit in US handheld gaming market, even if it's not very famous until release. ㅊould you please let us know how you did promotion for [Puzzle Quest]? It became very famous within only few weeks after release, and just curious.
It was really great that we could top sales for games in March and April in the USA.  It’s certainly been the best-received game that I have worked upon, and it is still in high demand.  We knew it was a good game, but we’ve been surprised at just how fast people found out about it.

I think the best promotion we can have for Puzzle Quest is word-of-mouth. We just need to have people play the game.  After that they tell their friends, their friends play it and tell their friends, etc…

6. This could be another good example for Indie Game Developers to go handheld directly, even if your company is not very indie. [Cake Mania] & [Diner Dash] go to NDS, but after success of PC download version, so [Puzzle Quest] could be very different case. If you can, could you please let us know about detail of the production, as budget - making time - number of working people?
We probably don’t really qualify as an Indie company, because we’ve been around for 18 years and done many commercial games. (Pig-Min writes : Infinite Interactive started at 2003, but he tells us his whole career, so it seems to be 18 years.) We really felt that it was time we branched out from PC development and added a few new skills, so handhelds such as NDS are the first logical step on that path.

The very first prototypes of Puzzle Quest were done by just a few people in 3 months back in 2005.  At the peak of development in mid-2006 we probably had between 10-15 people working on it.

7. Have you played some Korean game, or experienced or even heard about Korean Gaming Scene & Market? If so, please share your opinion about that.
My experience with Korean games has mostly been with MMOs, but I think you guys do them REALLY well.  I’m a big fan of Lineage II, and other products from NCSoft.  Also, a number of the NeoWiz games are pretty cool.  Other than these, though, we don’t see a lot of Korean games here in Australia.

8. Please pick 5 other games to recommend, and brief reason why.

Some of my favorite Indie Games at the moment are: Astral Tournament, Tasty Planet, War World, Peggle & Bookworm Adventures.

Some of the larger games I’m currently having fun with are: Earth Defense Force 2017 on Xbox 360, Dungeon Runners from NCSoft, City of Heroes from NCSoft, and Oblivion on Xbox 360.

9. Please leave some message for Pig-Min Readers.

Although we have created many games in the past 20 years, we have sadly never managed to release any of them in Korea.  But I hope Korean gamers enjoy Puzzle Quest, and I hope that both Infinite Interactive and D3Publisher have the opportunity to bring them lots of fun games in the future.

Korean version of this Interview.
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